Former President George W. Bush on Thursday warned of which “bigotry seems emboldened” in America, in addition to “our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories in addition to outright fabrication.”
Speaking at the Bush Institute’s Spirit of Liberty event in fresh York, the 43rd president warned against the isolationism in addition to trade protectionism of which Trump has long espoused.
“People are hurting, they’re angry in addition to they’re frustrated [in addition to] we must help them,” Bush said. “nevertheless we cannot wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the Agricultural Revolution or the Industrial Revolution. One strength of free society can be its ability to adapt to economic in addition to social disruptions, in addition to of which should be our goal.”
A Bush spokesman later said the former president was not explicitly criticizing President Donald Trump, whose name Bush never mentioned inside the speech. Nonetheless, the parallels were obvious.
“We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” Bush said. “At times, of which can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization.
“Too often we judge various other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions, forgetting the image of God we should see in each various other. We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism. Forgotten the dynamism of which immigration has always brought to America.”
Bush’s speech also appeared to be a direct rebuke to the populist, nationalist themes of which defined much of Trump’s 2016 president campaign, personified by the views of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Bush, a lifelong Republican, did not vote for Trump. Instead, he left the presidential section of his ballot blank in 2016.
“Our identity as a nation, unlike various other nations, can be not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood,” Bush said Thursday. “People by every race, religion, ethnicity can be full in addition to equally American.”
White supremacists at a violent protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August shouted the Nazi slogan “blood in addition to soil.”
The former president also made an oblique reference to Trump’s claim This kind of past summer of which both sides were to blame following the white supremacist rally. “Bigotry or white supremacy in any form can be blasphemy against the American creed,” Bush said.
He argued of which America must strengthen its defense of democracy in addition to democratic institutions under attack by foreign powers, in addition to Russia in particular.
This kind of defense, Bush said, “begins with confronting a fresh era of cyberthreats. America has experienced a sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed in addition to exploit our country’s divisions. According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each various other.”
He added of which “foreign aggressions, including cyberattacks, disinformation in addition to financial influence, should never be downplayed or tolerated.” Trump has repeatedly claimed of which a Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election can be a “hoax,” perpetuated by Democrats.
Bush said of which the weakening of democratic institutions has made American politics “more vulnerable to conspiracy theories in addition to outright fabrication,” he said. Trump has often repeated falsehoods in addition to promoted false conspiracies, such as the claim of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 elections.
A White House spokesman did not immediately respond Thursday to a CNBC request for comment on Bush’s speech.
While receiving the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Monday, another Republican, Sen. John McCain, took issue with the nationalist in addition to isolationist policies of which Trump campaigned on to win the White House. Without mentioning Trump by name, McCain said:
“To fear the entire world we have organized in addition to led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership in addition to our duty to remain ‘the last best desire of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who could rather find scapegoats than solve problems can be as unpatriotic as an attachment to any various other tired dogma of the past of which Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”
Trump responded in an interview with Washington’s WMAL radio, saying: “I’m being very, very nice, nevertheless at some point I fight back in addition to of which won’t be pretty.”